A multicenter study on childhood constipation and fecal incontinence: Effects on quality of life

Katja Kovacic, Manu R. Sood, Suzanne Mugie, Carlo Di Lorenzo, Samuel Nurko, Nicole Heinz, Ananthasekar Ponnambalam, Christina Beesley, Rina Sanghavi, Alan H. Silverman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Objective To describe the effects of childhood functional constipation compared with functional constipation plus fecal incontinence on quality of life, evaluating effects on physical, psychosocial, and family functioning. Study design This prospective, multicenter study collected data from 5 regional children's hospitals. Children meeting Rome III criteria for functional constipation were included. Parents completed the following 5 instruments: Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory (PedsQL), PedsQL-Family Impact Module, Functional Disability Inventory-Parent Version, Pediatric Inventory for Parents (PIP), and Pediatric Symptom Checklist-Parent Report. Results Families of 410 children aged 2-18 years (mean [SD], 7.8 [3.5] years; 52% male) were included. Children with functional constipation+fecal incontinence had worse quality of life than children with functional constipation alone (PedsQL Total Score, P ≤.03). Older children with functional constipation + fecal incontinence had lower quality of life than their younger counterparts (PedsQL Total Score, P ≤.047). Children with functional constipation+fecal incontinence had worse family functioning (PedsQL-Family Impact Module Total Score, P ≤.012), greater parental stress (PIP-F Total Score, P ≤.016; PIP-D Total Score, P ≤.013), and poorer psychosocial functioning (Pediatric Symptom Checklist Total Score, P ≤.003). There were no statistically significant between-group differences in physical functioning based on the functional Disability Inventory. Conclusion Fecal incontinence significantly decreases quality of life compared with functional constipation alone in children. Older children with functional constipation+fecal incontinence may be at particular risk. Strategies for early identification and treatment of constipation along with diagnosis and treatment of related adjustment difficulties may mitigate the negative impact of this highly prevalent condition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1482-1487.e1
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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